Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wedding formalities

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to a friend's wedding. It was a huge affair - even by Japanese standards, with all the important people from a major tourist town - over 200 guests in total. Most of it was really nice - great food, nice people at my table and of course the bride was beautiful in all three of her outfits.
The only thing I was a little disappointed in was the chapel ceremony before the reception began. I understand that Japanese people really want a piece of western culture in their lives, but.... I would have to say that I have never cried so much at a wedding as I did at this one. And it wasn't because I was sad... it was because I could not stop myself from laughing. As is quite common at Japanese weddings they had a foreign "priest" who conducted the ceremony in both English and Japanese, but in such a way that I still have no idea if he was being serious or actually just taking the piss out of the whole event. I really wish I had taken a video as I can't describe it adequately - just that he was a close second to Rowan Atkinson. All the words were traditional wedding words, but the delivery was like an over the top actor pouring his whole heart and soul into the ceremony with the odd wink or smirk on the side. From what I can tell anyone can become a marriage celebrant here if they go to a quick course... they then get paid very good money for "marrying" people. I thought my laughter was reasonably well hidden, but after the ceremony a friend came up to me and told me that she was sitting behind me and that the whole seat was shaking because I was laughing so much... oops! Mind you she said she was doing the same! Give me a traditional Japanese ceremony in Japan any day.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jo,

    Our neighbor, Nick (from Australia) participates in the weekend wedding preacher business. I guess the money is good. He said he makes about 15000 yen a marraige. Last month he had 20+ marraiges to attend to. He said he wouldn't recommend this business to any of his friends. It was like selling your soul. I watched a video of one of these marraiges and the preacher had a dramatically low voice and he was almost making a mockery of the whole event. I couldn't stop laughing at the video. It was almost too funny to be true. I was expecting a person to come out of the background and say, "Smile, you're on Candid Camera!" I guess the funniest thing is that my wife was wondering if she could be a weekend wedding preacher...good grief and Amen.